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  • Feature

    Three new physics experiments could revamp the standard model

    Diana Parno’s head swam when she first stepped inside the enormous, metallic vessel of the experiment KATRIN. Within the house-sized, oblong structure, everything was symmetrical, clean and blindingly shiny, says Parno, a physicist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “It was incredibly disorienting.”

    Now, electrons — thankfully immune to bouts of dizziness — traverse the inside...

    09/19/2018 - 09:30 Particle Physics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Smart plants can teach us a thing or two

    The Revolutionary Genius of PlantsStefano MancusoAtria Books, $30

    More than 200 years ago, French botanist René Desfontaines instructed a student to monitor the behavior of Mimosa pudica plants as he drove them around Paris in a carriage. Mimosa pudica quickly closes its leaves when touched — presumably as a defense mechanism. Desfontaines was interested in the plants’ response to...

    09/18/2018 - 07:00 Plants, Evolution, Biophysics
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Poached’ offers a deep, disturbing look into the illegal wildlife trade

    PoachedRachel Love NuwerDa Capo Press, $28

    Perhaps the most unsettling scene in Poached, by science journalist Rachel Love Nuwer, comes early in the book, in a fancy restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The author and two friends sit down and are handed leather-bound menus offering roasted civet, fried tortoise, stewed pangolin and other delicacies made from rare or endangered...

    09/14/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, Science & Society
  • News

    A new antibiotic uses sneaky tactics to kill drug-resistant superbugs

    Drug-resistant bacteria have a new challenger.

    A new molecule can kill deadly strains of common bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia, that are resistant to most existing antibiotics. The drug works differently from currently available antibiotics, potentially making it harder for bacteria to develop resistance, researchers report September 12 in Nature.

    Most...

    09/12/2018 - 13:00 Chemistry, Biomedicine, Health
  • News

    A new hydrogen-rich compound may be a record-breaking superconductor

    Superconductors are heating up, and a world record-holder may have just been dethroned.

    Two studies report evidence of superconductivity — the transmission of electricity without resistance — at temperatures higher than seen before. The effect appears in compounds of lanthanum and hydrogen squeezed to extremely high pressures.

    All known superconductors must be chilled to function,...

    09/10/2018 - 07:00 Condensed Matter, Materials, Physics
  • Feature

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    One fine Hawaiian day in 2015, Geoff Zahn and Anthony Amend set off on an eight-hour hike. They climbed a jungle mountain on the island of Oahu, swatting mosquitoes and skirting wallows of wild pigs. The two headed to the site where a patch of critically endangered Phyllostegia kaalaensis had been planted a few months earlier. What they found was dispiriting.

    “All the plants were gone,”...

    09/06/2018 - 11:00 Agriculture, Plants, Microbes
  • 50 years ago, a pessimistic view for heart transplants

    Transplanted hearts will be shortlivedNow that heart recipients can realistically look forward to leaving the hospital and taking up a semblance of normal life, the question arises, what kind of semblance, and for how long? South Africa’s Dr. Christiaan Barnard, performer of the first heart transplant, has a sobering view…. “A transplanted heart will last only five years — if we’re...
    09/06/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • News in Brief

    German skeletons hint that medieval warrior groups recruited from afar

    Power systems transcended kinship in medieval Europe. A burial site in southern Germany contains members of a powerful warrior family who journeyed widely to find recruits to join the household and support a post-Roman kingdom, a new study suggests.

    Thirteen individuals interred at Niederstotzingen belonged to the Alemanni, a confederation of Germanic tribes that were conquered by and...

    09/05/2018 - 14:00 Genetics, Anthropology, Archaeology
  • News in Brief

    Jupiter’s magnetic field is surprisingly weird

    If Earth’s magnetic field resembles that of a bar magnet, Jupiter’s field looks like someone took a bar magnet, bent it in half and splayed it at both ends. 

    The field emerges in a broad swath across Jupiter’s northern hemisphere and re-enters the planet both around the south pole and in a concentrated spot just south of the equator, researchers report in the Sept. 6 Nature.

    “We...

    09/05/2018 - 13:04 Planetary Science
  • News

    Teens born from assisted pregnancies may have higher blood pressure

    Assisted pregnancies give infertile couples the chance at a child. But kids conceived with reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, or IVF, were more likely to develop high blood pressure as adolescents than their naturally conceived counterparts, a new study finds.  

    Of 52 teens conceived with technological help, eight had hypertension, defined as blood pressure...

    09/05/2018 - 06:00 Health, Development, Epigenetics